David Schwartzberg wrote a post a few weeks ago on why so many users are still running Windows XP. The theory is that Windows XP was the prevailing desktop OS at a time when enterprises began to move to the cloud. Software that began on the Windows XP desktop 10 years ago resides on a cloud server today. This extended the life of Windows XP and gave satisfied users little reason to spend the money on something new.
I’m sure that’s a big part of it, and many users are still reluctant to upgrade even though they’re aware that they are losing Microsoft support. Recent research estimates that Windows XP is still running on as much as 30% of all personal computers worldwide, and other research has concluded that there are more than 200 million Windows XP users around the world. These numbers do not include data on the Windows XP embedded systems, which have end-of-life dates all over the place:
- Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems. … April 8, 2014.
- Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 3 (SP3). … Jan. 12, 2016.
- Windows Embedded for Point of Service SP3. … April 12, 2016.
- Windows Embedded Standard 2009. … Jan. 8, 2019.
- Windows Embedded POSReady 2009. … April 9, 2019.
So who is still playing catch-up on Windows XP ?
- The US government is said to have about 10% of their computers still running XP after MS end-of-life.
- State and local governments are also moving slowly toward upgrading, only as fast as their shrinking budgets allow.
- 85% of the British NHS computers are still running Windows XP.
- The Dutch government is still running approximately 40,000 Windows XP systems.
- The Chinese government intends to continue running Windows XP, using 3rd party apps to secure the desktops.
- A whole bunch of private companies and non-profit organizations.
It’s harder to get information on private companies, but here are some comments from the thread that inspired this post:
The decision makers have decided that there are other pressing issues and that upgrading them from XP is not necessary. I can only offer my suggestions and cross my fingers.
About 80% of our student machines are XP and will be for at least a few years.
I just had our last XP machines either swapped or retired last Friday. After a month of 60+Hrs a week and 1500 miles of traveling, just in New England, I’m on fried brain mode. I either upgraded or replaced 200+ machines since January, 20% of our inventory.
Too many. About half of our 500 users, not that I’m panicking of course!
Upgraded to Linux a couple of years ago, no worries!
If you’re still running Windows XP, there are a few things you can do to make your machine safer:
- Run 3rd party security software. There are a lot of security apps out there that plan to continue support for XP for at least another year. Check them out and see how much time you can get from them.
- Disconnect your XP machine from the network. Doesn’t make you 100% safe, but it does help. And the Internet appreciates it.
- Use a web browser other than Internet Explorer. Chrome and Firefox are excellent alternatives.
- Use an account with limited rights, and disable the admin account if you can.
- Virtualize the XP system if you have the hardware to run HyperV, VirtualBox, or the like.
- Keep your perimeter protected. (Barracuda has you covered on that)
If you’re looking for more information on how to improve your Windows XP situation, Eli the Computer Guy has some shows dedicated to this topic.
- Windows XP End of Support (Time to get the pillow)
- Supporting Windows XP Past April 8th 2014
- Windows XP End of Life is Finally Here… Sort Of…
And if you’re looking for information on perimeter and email security, take a look at these Barracuda products:
- Barracuda Spam Firewall
- Barracuda Email Security Service
- Barracuda Web Filter
- Barracuda Firewall
- Barracuda NG Firewall
- Barracuda SSL VPN
- Barracuda Web Application Firewall
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